We have one week to do what Dallas stretched out over a whole summer: Who did Ted Lasso kill in “No Weddings and a Funeral,” the black-clad episode dropping next Friday? What we know for sure is, of course, very little. Apple’s synopsis, which is always more accurately a teaser and which I am therefore going to call a synopser, offers two tantalizing clues:
“Rebecca is stunned by a sudden loss. The team rallies to show their support, but Ted finds himself grappling with a piece of his past.”
In addition, we have the still photo that comes up when you click on “No Weddings and a Funeral” in Apple TV, hoping against hope that an intern got loaded and shared the episode early:
It’s not much — but it’s a start. And we can take a bunch of obviously unkillable characters out of the lineup right here at the top. For starters, Ted Lasso isn’t doing away with any of its main characters. Of them, the likeliest candidate would be Keeley, Rebecca’s best friend (non-Sassy category) and one of the show’s beatingest hearts. Killing Keeley would spark riots across London and LA. It’s not her. Before “Beard After Hours,” there was gossip it might be Coach Beard; now that we know Beard lives (#BeardLives), we can direct our attention elsewhere.
Higgins might seem like an intriguing possibility, but that herring is redder than a sunburned fox in a cartoon orchard. And I hate to shed Higgins as a death candidate with a real-world business development and not by figuring some obscure thing out by cool in-episode sleuthing. But I have to do it that way. The entire Ted Lasso cast just got huge raises. Jeremy Swift was last seen literally drinking champagne on a private jet. He ain’t goin’ nowhere.
And I know we’re all still reeling from “Man City” — no one more than James “Senior Tart” Tartt, Sr. But his death wouldn’t stun Rebecca. If anything, she would be delighted to hear of his untimely death from drunkenly picking a fight with a moving garbage truck. And she would under no circumstances attend his funeral. Right now, it’s less than even odds Jamie would attend his funeral.
And with that smooth transition into oddsmaking, let’s solve this Ted Lasso murder mystery!
Chance Of Character Dying: 0%. Only kidding! Sorry. I had to include Sam. Couldn’t resist the clickbait. There’s no way they’re killing Sam! If I may borrow from Colin a minute: Sam is a strong and beautiful man. He’s also a growing narrative presence, which grants him some decent plot armor. And he’s fucking Rebecca. If this were Game of Thrones, I’d put Sam’s odds of surviving a given week at around 50-50. But this is Ted Lasso! The only things this show has ever killed are a dog and Thor’s hope for the future of television. That makes it unpredictable, but not stupid. There is absolutely no chance Ted Lasso kills Sam…in this episode.
Nora and/or Sassy
Chance Of Character(s) Dying: 0.1% and 0.5%, respectively. The death of either Rebecca’s dearest non-Keeley friend or her goddaughter would for damn sure be sudden. And either loss would indeed leave Rebecca stunned. But that’s all Nora has in common with the episode description of “No Weddings and a Funeral.” Sassy is a smidge more likely because of the second line in that description — she is, after all, a “piece of [Ted]’s past.” And presumably his present, semi-regularly, when he’s alone in a room with a door that locks.
However, take a look at the photo above. It’s a still, an honest-to-God still, from “No Weddings and a Funeral.” For some reason Apple TV, the most tight-fisted streamer on the planet, allowed Hannah Waddingham to go on national television and by extension the god damn internet armed with a whole-ass clip from the next Ted Lasso episode. The scene takes place backstage at the funeral, and features Keeley, Sassy, and Nora. So we know Sassy and Nora are alive; they’re at the funeral with Rebecca.
Deborah, Rebecca’s Mom
Chance Of Character Dying: 1%. Ordinarily I would say Deborah has a higher likelihood of getting killed off. Rebecca’s conflicted feelings about her mother would give Deborah’s death some real dramatic heft — something might even be at stake were that to happen.
But we’ve also only met her once. Killing Deborah right away would be kind of cheap. Not to mention a poor use of resources: Harriet Walter is a great actress, and she did a splendid, funny job on Ted Lasso. Most convincingly of all, we already know she’s also in “No Weddings and a Funeral.” Dressed for and clearly *at* a funeral. And while it is technically possible that she could die within the episode but be buried at the same funeral she had been attending, thereby keeping the title’s singular promise, that scenario is not Ted Lasso‘s brand of absurd.
Chance Of Character Dying: 25%. A few weeks ago I introduced a friend to Ted Lasso; it will come as no surprise that she watched most of the first season in one night. Right before “For the Children,” I told her, “Brace yourself — you are about to meet a huge piece of shit.” Ten minutes later came her response: “Giles?!!!” This is the magic of Anthony Stewart Head, whose long and illustrious acting career is for many people boiled down to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and who could not be playing a more different character in Rebecca’s ex-husband. Nate the Great has become a proper bully this season, but for pure fuckheaddery he can’t hold a candle to Rupert.
Who among Ted Lasso‘s fans would not love to see Rupert as the star corpse in “No Weddings and a Funeral”? It would be great! It would be even better if we got to see him die, too. Maybe he could be driving the garbage truck Jamie’s dad picks a fight with, because he’s rich and wanted to drive a garbage truck for poops and giggles, and so he is, and he swerves to avoid that drunken idiot and drives off the bridge he didn’t realize he was on because he’s rich and does what he wants without thinking.
But I very much doubt Rupert will be who Ted Lasso kills. We haven’t seen him *at all* this season. He’s too good a villain to get rid of in, at most, a scene or two at the beginning of the upcoming episode. Rupert has something up his sleeve; I’m sure of it. He is Ted Lasso‘s Emperor Palpatine. He’ll meet his fate next season.
Deborah talking about Paul. This is what Paul makes people look like. Not pictured: Paul
Paul, Rebecca’s Dad
Chance of Character Dying: 90+%. Paul has yet to appear in person. He’s only ever been mentioned in one episode. I couldn’t even remember his name; I had to rewatch “The Signal” to get it. Because he hasn’t been cast, we have no attachment to him except through Rebecca and (to a lesser extent) Deborah. Which means that, for Ted Lasso‘s audience, there wouldn’t be any lamenting the loss of a favorite character or the departure of a beloved guest star. The whole focus of the episode could be on how “stunned” Rebecca is by this “sudden loss.”
“But wait!” you’re saying. “Ted never met Paul!” True — but Paul was Rebecca’s father. In case you hadn’t noticed, Ted Lasso is in The Father Season. Rebecca’s grief, anger, and mix of any and all other conflicting emotions would be more than enough to have Ted “grappling with a piece of his past.” You don’t bring up the suicide of Lasso the Elder one week and then not embellish upon it the next.
Also, as I was writing this article, the Ted Lasso people released a couple new stills from “No Weddings and a Funeral.” And one of them was this one:
Rebecca, looking melancholy and reminiscent, being comforted by her mother while curled up in what sure looks like it could be her old bedroom? Yeah, it’s Paul. Before this, I had his odds at 50%. Now, it would take a garbage truck full of last-minute clues to convince me the funeral is for anyone but Rebecca’s unseen papa.
WILD CARD: Mae
Chance Of Character Dying: Between 1 and 25%; probably saved after Paul took the hit for her. The idea that Mae would die this season has been a subplot in The Gist’s Ted Lasso episode discussions for weeks. I have to give credit to Thor “Cord Lastleton” Benander, who was the first person to point out the long, long shot of Mae’s smiling reaction to Jamie Tartt at The Crown & Anchor way back in episode two. It was that shot, odd and unnecessary, that convinced me he was right and Mae was not long for this world.
Do I want Mae to die? Of course not. I want Rupert to die and everyone else in Ted Lasso to live. But as a plot device, her death would — believe it or not — do everything that Rebecca’s father’s would. Rupert’s flirtation with Mae and the frequency with which Rebecca eats at Mae’s pub both suggest she’s known Mae for at least the length of her marriage. We’ve never seen Rebecca and Mae together, just the two of them, and that omission suggests Rebecca takes Mae for granted, just assumes she’ll always be there. When she’s not, and all of a sudden two fixtures in her life are removed (since the ownership of The Crown & Anchor would come into question), Rebecca may well begin questioning other parts of her life, too.
But I talked myself out of believing it would be Mae after all those clues about Paul. Like a father’s childhood influence stretching into his child’s adulthood, the pull of The Father Season is strong. So now I’m all but convinced of who Ted Lasso will kill. And when we do get the Rupert Death? Please, Ted Lasso, ignore the no schadenfreude zone and don’t spare the gory details.
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